Are Dental Assistants Becoming Sterile to Save Your Teeth?

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 3:40 PM


 

It's a known fact that dental professionals care about our teeth.  They tell us we should floss once a day, brush twice, and don't forget to use mouth rinse.  They advise patients to stay away from foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates, and the list goes on.  Did you know that female dental assistants care so much about saving and restoring teeth that they put themselves at risk of becoming fertile?  It's true.  Amalgam dental fillings contain mercury and it is a common practice that dental assistants prepare the amalgam filling for the dentist.  During the preparation they are exposed to mercury vapors that can easily be inhaled.  According to a study done in California, dental assistants who have high occupational exposure to mercury are less fertile than dental assistants who have low exposure.


Furthermore, studies have been performed on laboratory mice, rats, and hamsters who have been exposed to mercury vapors.  Scientist found that exposure to mercury lengthened the menstrual cycle and lowered the number of embryo implantation of the aforementioned subjects.  When inhaled, mercury vapors are easily absorbed through the lungs into the blood stream and then are transported throughout the body.  Mercury can easily pass through the blood brain barrier and affect the pituitary, thyroid, and brain.  More studies are needed to determine if mercury vapors have a direct impact on the endocrine and reproductive systems, but as you can see most data suggests that it does. 

So the next time you are at the dentist maybe you should elect to have a tooth colored filling despite the added cost. For more information please visit: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1127897/?page=1

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